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Zen & The Round Timer
By Pete Kautz, 2009

In this article I want to focus on a very simple piece of training equipment - the round timer.

For those of you who've never used one, these are typically simple electronic timers that keep track of 2 or 3 minute rounds with 30 or 60 second rest periods between them.  They are made for boxing and so fit the round structure of the sport.  I have seen newer ones for MMA that work on the 5 minute round.

If you do a web search you'll see there are a zillion different timers out there.  Some have a lot of buttons and variables, others are huge and meant for use in a pro gym.  The one I have is a cheap little Everlast boxing timer and it works well.  Plus it's easy to set while wearing half-finger bag-gloves so there's no messing around having to take gloves on and off.

It is one of those pieces of training equipment, much like the focus mitts, that I seem to use every time I step out into the school.  Both for solo workouts and for group classes the round timer always seems to be involved.

What I like with it is the simplicity of the focus.  Like Pavlov's dog, I hear the bell and I go go go go until I hear the bell to stop.  There is no thinking, just acting, whatever the round is - like a moving Zen state.

For solo workouts focused on technical skills I'll just set the timer for how ever many rounds I'm doing that day and then make a circuit through some of the different pieces of training equipment that we use, focusing on different aspects of the art.

For example, here is a workout Lily and I did the other day.  Each round was 2 minutes with a 30 second rest.  After the Yoga set, we started on different pieces of equipment and worked through the cycle from there.

* Dynamic Stretching

* Short Yoga Set

* Speed bag - Jab - Jab/Cross (1, 1-2) with Side-to-Side Footwork

* Heavy bag - Closing Gap Kick to Blast with Side-to-Side Footwork

* C.A.T. - Low Kick to Blast to Headbutt Knee Elbow (HKE)

* BOB - Thai Clinch with HKE

* Dequerdes - Limb Destructions to Blast to HKE

* Repeat the last 5 rounds focusing on fighting from the other lead (ie. left lead if you did mainly right lead the first time)

* 100 Crunches (10 x 10 Variations)

* Static Stretching

The whole thing took less than 40 minutes start to end, and in an 80 degree metal building was a good sweat.

All the very best,

Pete Kautz

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